Steps of Faith took a couple of tries
Steps of Faith took a couple of tries

I’ve been somewhat snarky in this blog and especially in the game about some of the folks we’ve encountered. The reluctance of the Crystal Braves to do pretty much anything. The motives of most of the NPCs.

I’d been saying for weeks that the Crystal Brave Lalafell Yuyuhase was suspicious. He so very much was. I’d been saying for WEEKS that Wonder Twin Alphinaud was being handed titles and commendations for no reason. Alphinaud was being fed pablum to keep him docile and away from the truth. The very first time I saw the Sultana’s handmaiden, I said she was a spy. She was — a spy, and an assassin.

When the Syndicate promised the mercenary company Brass Blades could defend Ul’dah while the Immortal Flames were occupied elsewhere, I said this was a bad idea. And it was.

When the membership of the Crystal Braves ballooned from a few disaffected adventurers to a fully-fleshed out army, I thought that seemed suspiciously quick. It so very much was.

Taledji Aledji was always presented as a straight-up villain. I had to admit that I was surprised when he was unceremoniously cut down.

But I want it written down… every NPC of whom I was suspicious, turned out to be well worth that suspicion.

EVERY one.
EVERY one.

The Scions of the Seventh Dawn have been betrayed before. They’re a long-time target for anyone looking for a quick score. Minfilia and Alphinaud kept everyone together, somehow, and found some new friends. Now most of them are gone, at least for now, and it was a much smaller Scion crew that trudged into Ishgard. Alphinaud, Tataru, and me.

Yup, we’re in Heavensward, now.

And Kasul, too!
And Kasul, too!

The night started with Iceheart using her Saint Shiva-drawn powers to remove many of the ancient barriers that had kept Ishgard safe from Dravanian (dragon) attack. This echoed the dragon Midgardsormr’s stripping from us of Hydraelyn’s Blessing of Light. Where Midgardsormr did this to inspire us to greatness, Iceheart was straight up looking to destroy Ishgard.

This culminated in an assault on the approach to the main gates, the Steps of Faith, guarded only by the last of the hastily-strengthened wards, a bunch of cannons, some explosives… and a few dragon killers.

The dragon Vishap led the Dravanian attack. He’s a huge dragon who shrugs off most of the raid’s attacks. Victory only comes from skillfully using the cannons, chains, and dragon-killing ballistae to take out Vishap and his hordes. The very last trial, pre-expansion, is the one that doesn’t hinge on tanking, healing, or dps.

Our first time in, we failed twice and people bailed. We signed up for a second time and this time we drew people who knew what to do with the cannons and stuff, and we easily defeated Vishap.

After that, we were praised by the Ishgard ambassador, Aymeric, and returned to Rising Stones as heroes. Kasul had to log early, so we decided to meet again the next night to finish up A Realm Reborn.

Hard to know who to root for, here.
Hard to know who to root for, here.

What awaited us back in Ul’dah, at the ill-fated “celebration” of the saving of Ishgard (TOTALLY CALLED HOW SUSPICIOUS THAT WAS), was a bunch of cut-scenes as Ul’dah was shaken to its very foundation by the betrayal by the Syndicate, Crystal Braves and Brass Blades, and the likely death of most of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. So much attention was paid to the difficulty of escaping from Ul’dah. Both Kasul and I were confused by their reluctance to teleport; they were in some cases RIGHT NEXT to an aetheryte. We KNOW NPCs can teleport; it’s not just a PC thing.

I don’t know whether the writers were just being lazy, or if this was some sort of stratagem to make the Ul’dah traitors believe that they had destroyed the Scions. Anyway, we, for some reason, decided to pin ourselves down in hidden tunnels, requiring all the other Scions to die in battle against the Crystal Braves. Apparently, they CAN fight, when it’s for evil. We just never gave them the right motivation.

That was a fun hour and a half of clicking through cut-scenes. Even after, we sat through the closing credits, hoping for a post-credits scene. Our patience was rewarded; we got TWO cut-scenes. Raubahn, disarmed, in a cell…. and Urianger, the creepy elf, answering as the Archon the summons of the Emissary, Elidibus, the white-robed Ascian. Is Urianger an Ascian? Probably not… but he comes when they call.

Even the NPCs can't figure out what we're for.
Even the NPCs can’t figure out what we’re for.

So, it’s been a little over four months since Kasul and I started our adventures in FFXIV. Kasul has taken Summoner and Scholar to 50, as well as Miner and Botanist, and Leatherworker, Carpenter and Weaver to fill out the roster.

I’ve taken Paladin to 51, and Warrior, Bard, Dragoon and Ninja to 50, Monk to 32, and White Mage to 30 as of this writing. I’ve earned the “Seeker of the Blood” title for doing the level 30 quests of all the original Disciple of War classes. I was working toward this all along :) I’ve also started an Astrologian, and will start Dark Knight as soon as I can find out where the guildmaster for that one is. I have been staying out of Ishgard, mostly, because I want to explore it with Kasul. I was kind of disappointed in how similar Astrologian was to the other healers; the “draw card” ability, at level 30, doesn’t seem so useful. I’m sure it will become key later on.

I’ve also got Armorer to 50 (almost 51 now), and Mining to 50. I haven’t really worked on the gathering and crafting professions. I do want to be able to make my level 54, ilevel 133, armor. But I don’t know what will drop when we get into the Heavensward dungeons, either. I may not need to make anything. Still, my armorer skill was key to completing the Free Company airship, the Millennium Bismarck, so it’s probably a good idea to keep it leveled.

Rating the classes I’ve played. I came to play a Paladin, and I enjoy being the boring “tank’s tank”. I like the wide variety of “oh crap” defensive and taunting abilities. Sure, I don’t do as much damage or self-healing as a warrior, but Paladins are meant to stand at the front of a group or raid and provide a safe environment for everyone else to do their jobs. I like that.

Warrior is very tactical. Positioning and such is more important. Some of the abilities I got really distressed Kasul, so I stopped using them (I miss you, Berserk!). It’s said to be a better soloing class, but I never have any issue soloing as a Paladin. When I play Warrior, I find I want to be playing Paladin.

Dragoon was my DPS class of choice, and I wasn’t disappointed. I love the animations, and I really feel effective in boss battles. Toward the end of the A Realm Reborn plot, we encountered the dragoon who was the antagonist during the dragoon job quest, and he remembered me, which was nice :) I look forward to being a dragoon in Heavensward. Dragoon mobility and single target DPS is just amazing.

Bard is a support job. It can do some damage, and excels in AE damage, but that can often generate problematic amounts of aggro. The various songs were of some use, but in normal groups, not really vital. When I am a Paladin, I like having a Bard that sings the running song between fights, and there HAVE BEEN cases where I requested a specific song from the Bard. So, leveling a Bard basically made me appreciate them more when someone else plays one.

The Ninja only came into its own late in the leveling, when there’s enough variety in the mudras to add some tactics to fights. I macro’d some of the lesser used mudras so I wouldn’t have to remember them, but the bread-and-butter mudras I do by hand. For most fights, I find that pausing ordinary attacks to run through a mudra is arguably not worth the time. The later mudras, that increase attack speed, make no-go zones on the ground, and some crowd control, are of some use. Positional melee dps in general has issues when a lot of bosses and normal mobs let those PBAEs out.

I have not finished leveling the Monk, so I can’t really talk about it. I actually enjoy the ramp up of power as the abilities flow into one another, and I don’t feel as if I’m wasting my potential dps by backing off to do mudras.

Healing is the most stressful of the three roles in a party. If anyone isn’t doing their job well, it’s the healer who has to make it work. If the healer isn’t doing their job well, nothing happens. Secondly, none of the mage jobs can stand alone. White Mage requires a fairly deep investment in Arcanist (which is required) and Thaumaturge in order to have the necessary abilities. Astrologian requires Thaumaturge, Conjurer and Arcanist to fill in the holes of the native class. (Astrologian, for instance, doesn’t come with the required “Protect” spell).

Both White Mage and Astrologian (only level 30 each so far) work similarly; put the tank on focus target, the enemy on target. Focus heal the tank, nuke and debuff the mobs, sleep enemies in big pulls if the party doesn’t have any AE damage (forget this if your tank is a Warrior or Dark Knight!). These healing classes are very technical. I think Scholar might be easier to play, because of the healing pet, but I don’t know. Kasul tells me that most people don’t appreciate the healer in a party, even if they do a great job. I like the egoboo that you get as a tank.

The various main classes don’t stray too far from the templates found in other MMOs. Dragoon is largely unique to the Final Fantasy series, but otherwise….

What Final Fantasy XIV has going for it, is the story — the story is unparalleled among the MMOs I’ve played, even that of FFXI. If the story doesn’t grab you, then the classes aren’t really unique enough to keep you. On the other hand, given MMOs with fairly unique classes and less well-defined roles like Guild Wars 2, I like having the well-defined roles of a more traditional fantasy MMO.

Still having fun!

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7 thoughts on “Vindicated!”

  1. Can’t teleport when you have aggro. ;)
    But yeah, that’s the drawback when they tie mechanics to lore so much, sometimes things end up not working when they should, just for plot purposes (like linkpearls).

  2. Even if you can teleport, teleporting to other cities take too long, and if you used the aetherytes to teleport around the city…well, you are limited to where you can teleport in the city meaning they can have guards at all of the aethrytes.

    Plus Crystal Braves were everywhere – it goes without saying that you don’t know where they are waiting.

  3. I’ve recently finished leveling my AST to 60 and the Draw mechanic really isn’t that big a deal. It’s pretty much:

    Get Bole. Royal Road it.
    Get Ewer. Royal Road it.
    Get Spire. Royal Road it.
    Get Arrow. Drop it on a DPS.
    Get Balance. Drop it on a DPS.
    Get Spear. Drop it on a DPS.

    If you’ve already got a Royal Road buff and one of the worthless cards comes up, you can shuffle it and hope for something better, but Shuffle sometimes draws the exact same card back out, so sometimes you let cards simply drop off. On very rare occasions, dropping Bole on the tank can be useful, but since the game is balanced on the assumption that they won’t have it, it’s obviously not ever actually needed, so RR’ing it to double the effect of your next card is 99.8% of the time the better option.

    That said, if you can pop an Extended Balance on a DPS, add in the Time Dilation and a Celestial Opposition, that 10% damage boost for 80 seconds on a dps player can be nice. But that doesn’t actually happen very often due to the RNG.

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone even notices or cares if the AST is using their cards or not. And that’s after the cards got a HUGE buff. they used to be even more worthless. That said, the card draws and casts are off the GCD, so using them doesn’t hurt anything. They just aren’t any kid of big deal either.

    FYI, as you level through the HW content in the MSQ you will gain High Quality items as quest rewards. You will get enough rewards to have a full kit of both War and Magic classes. When I leveled up, I used the Magic ones for my Black Mage and took all the tank options and thus I’ve got full suits of gear for 52, 54, 56, and 58 for my tanking classes. And my Paladin’s even wearing the level 52 set right now ;-) Still only 45 on the DRK and 50 on the WAR as of yet, but I’m working to catch them both up to 52 so I can get rid of the lower level gear from my armory and retainer. I’ve actually already bought and upgraded the full “Law Tome” set (including weapons) for the tank classes, so when they get to 60 I won’t need to run a ton of experts to gear them up — that’s already been done ;-) They’ll jump from i140-ish to i180 for gear. I’m looking forward to that!

    The HW dungeons are pretty fun and give quite a bit of xp even when not doing “bonused” roulette runs for them, so if you hit a leveling lull or get tired of doing lots of side quests, don’t be afraid to queue up for an xp run either. Dungeon gear drops in between the MSQ reward levels, so Dusk Vigil give level 51 i120 gear, Sohm Al gives level 53 i135 gear, etc. And it’s green which is slightly better than the white high-quality you get from quests, so level 53 dungeon drop is slightly better than level 54 quest reward, though it’s *very* slightly.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but I hope that it’s useful information.

  4. @Pai and @Dan: But… but… they have Phoenix Down, right? They can bring certain dead Lalafell back to life?

    @Pkdude: Thanks for the AST knowledge :) When I heard that the Astrologian had a card drawing mechanic, I thought that EVERY spell was drawn from a card, and you’d have your hand full of heals and buffs and stuff, and if you didn’t happen to have a heal at the time you needed one, well, should have managed your hand and built your deck better.

    I thought this because I couldn’t understand why so many AST seemed to have difficulty getting those heals off. When I saw that they pretty much had the same heals everyone else had, I was a little shocked.

    On the gear side, my PLD has i120 gear from poetics; so does Dragoon. I have i110 healer gear from those last couple quest lines which were dumping i110 gear on us; geared ninja same way. So it sounds like I should be good through the first couple levels in Heavensward.

    I actually enjoy doing random dungeon runs. Never know what you’re gonna get. Actually had an enjoyable Aurum Vale run the other night… Usually people just turn around and leave when they see they’ve drawn AV.

  5. Yeah, if you’e already fully i120 then you won’t really be getting upgrades until ether the Sohm Al dungeon or the level 54 MSQ rewards then. I’ve tanked Dusk Vigil in my i110 Noct gear, and it went just swimmingly, so there’s definitely some forgiveness in the lower levels. You can buy i115 HQ gear off the market board easily enough, but my i110 Noct gear was actually slightly better than even that, so I didn’t bother. The level 52 HQ stuff was better though, so when I hit 52 it was a definite gear swap. For you in full poetics though, you should be fine up to 54-55.

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